11:50pm Monday 7 May 2012 Nunhead Heights

I told my older son, the Sensible Son, that if he wants to see his father on Russell Howard’s Good News he should write to Russell Howard and tell him he has childhood leukemia and is going to die unless his father gets on TV.

The Sensible Son smiled and then hit me. And then hit me again.

He knew I was making a joke but at his age – 11 – he doesn’t find jokes about him dying funny. I thought it was hysterical. Well, not hysterical but I have stopped caring that much what I say to my children. You can’t mess up children like you used to. What can I tell him that he hasn’t seen with his own eyes or heard from his mother? He sees it all since I allow him into my flat.

Why can’t someone do some Make-A-Wish-Foundation-type trip or gift for my children? The living children of dead-beat dads need to have some fun, too. Why waste trips to Disney World or the Grand Canyon on children who are going to die and not remember it? My children are going to live, God Willing, a long, long time, surrounded by disappointment from their father. Why shouldn’t they see their father on Russell Howard’s Good News?

“You don’t have any money because you don’t work” he said to me once. “Who told you that?” I shot back. “Mummy”. She’s right I told him.

He loves Russell Howard, which is fine by me. I like Russell, too. I played football with Russell at Crystal Palace Park before I tore my cartilage and he became famous and before my son got leukemia. Russell’s a decent guy and you can tell from playing five-a-side football with a dude. He let me hug the goal and didn’t once tell me I was completely offside. Then again, no one did. They were thinking: Silly American!

Would my son love me if I was on TV? “Yes” he answers. Russell, please save my son’s life.

Two years ago Russell’s producers actually asked me to send them some videos of me commenting on the news for possible use on his show. I did it and they didn’t use them. No hard feelings, though. I didn’t think they were good, either. They were even going to pay me for the unused videos but I didn’t want the production company playing them for eternity when I became famous. I was full of myself back in 2010. 

After my Sensible Son stopped hitting me and I stopped laughing he ran home to his mother. I had had an hour hanging around with him, which is probably enough for me. Well, it has to be enough.

I thought to myself: Yes, I’m not on Russell Howard’s Good News, or any other TV show, but at least my son doesn’t have leukemia (as far as I know). He is alive and should be alive, God Willing, for a while. Maybe he doesn’t love me but at least he is alive, and I can see him for an hour at a time.


Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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